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Tony Makara

I believe driving mothers of young children into work is an anti-family agenda. The mother should be at home during the childs formative years, to give the child a sense of family and to prevent the feelings of alienation that lead to anti-social behaviour in later life.

Dave Bartlett

There was an interesting Thinking Allowed programme looking at what politicians could do to improve the chances of poor children.



" The mother should be at home during the childs formative years, to give the child a sense of family and to prevent the feelings of alienation that lead to anti-social behaviour in later life. " - Tony Makara.

Why should the mother be the one to stay at home?

Peter Franklin

Great article, Cameron -- this is a vital area of policy and Labour is making a multi-billion screw-up of it.

Tony Makara

Will, obviously if the female of the household has the greater earning potential then it would make economic sense for the mother to work while the father looks after the children. However it is my opinion that women are naturally more in tune with nuturing, a woman does a better job of 'mothering' than a man in most instances.

Cameron Watt

Tony - I very much agree that during the child's first three years it is best for them to have one parent around as much as possible - which is generally going to be the mother. If mothers of the most vulnerable children can be given the help they need to be the best parents they can be, it is probably best for them to be at home during their child's first three years than being pushed out to work to do part-time McJobs which have to be heavily topped-up with tax credits.

Neil Reddin

I'll get the pedantic bit out of my system first:
"Of course there’s nothing at all wrong with middle-class families receiving high-quality public services, but they shouldn’t be resourced from programmes to address poverty among the most disadvantaged."
The programme is resourced from the taxes that the middle-class families have usually paid more of.

Anyway, a good article which shows how Conservatives can make inroads into territory that most would consider reserved for the Left. SureStart also demonstrates the folly of planning around disadvantaged "areas" when it's the people (and most importantly) children who are disadvantaged (whether through bad luck, poor decision making earlier in life or plain fecklessness.

Tony Makara

Cameron, A situation that particularly worries me is when a mother in a single parent household takes up work outside of school hours. For example working in the evenings with the child/children left 'Home Alone' and unsupervised. I have seen this played out in my own locality where children are playing out until late waiting for the mother to return home from work.

Ideally I should like to see the mothers role as a mother and carer given its due recognition. Labour's attempts to cajole mothers away from their children and into work is in my opinion socially disruptive. At a time when children are looking for stability the last thing they need is a latch-door lifestyle. Labour's patchwork attempts to create a half work/half benefits economy built on tax credits will have serious consequences in the long run. I certainly agree with the concept that work is the way out of deprivation, but I am concerned that in giving the child the material wealth it needs we may at the same time be taking away the childs sense of security. The last thing we need in broken Britain is another generation of alienated young people.

Graeme Archer

The evidence that SureStart is not v good is quite overwhelming. THis is a great article Cameron. The difference between us and them on this issue isn't that of morality - all good people want good starts for children - it's one of - I think- raw ideology. Quite strange. Conservatives want lots of small local providers of pre-school care and interventions, socialists want a state-approved, centrally-owned one. Of course the middle-classes will grab the lion's share of anything going, just like they do in everything. There's a real-life anecdote aboot Sure Start in Hackney which is quite emblematic. Of course we have an enormous SureStart behemoth on the edge of London Fields - I'm sure it's very good - but when my favourite mayoral candidate Boff was councillor in Queensbridge, he raised the issue of the Labour council refusing to give two mums who wanted to set up their own nursery the 200 quid they needed to get their lavs up to standard. This is how creativity, ownership and empowerment are stamped out by socialism. The mums actually came from one of the communities that Labour go on about helping, which serves only to underline the point.

Simon Newman

This is all nonsense. There's mountains of evidence from the USA that these programs simply don't work. Even the most intensive give only temporary benefits that have vanished by the time children reach their late teens.

If you want to alleviate social breakdown, you can't do it with child-centred programs. To start with it needs functioning families, with a married mother & father, with the father in employment.

May Ignima

I have to agree with Simon Newman, you have to centre policy around the family, not just the children. Regardless of their nationality, size or age of parents, policy still has to be around family. That's my opinion anyway.

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